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go ask lisa
about her brand
by jack perez

While I want to say I'm above it all, not enticed by the opportunities so abundantly provided to us by entertainers and politicians, I am not. Today's column is inspired by a phone call I had last week with a dear childhood friend while on my way to a networking event. She was actually delivering a message from her mother "You need to blog about your Lisa Druck story."

Who is Lisa Druck and why is she someone I should blog about?

John Edwards' dalliance, Rielle Hunter, or Lisa as we fellow elementary school classmates called her, was in my fourth grade class at Pine Crest Preparatory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was super cool, wore make-up and didn't succumb to the traditional white blouse under the forest green jumper uniform, so we all knew she wore a bra because we could sneak peak it from the side. I coveted her brand - I wanted to be her.

I remember distinctly that for our big fourth grade book report assignment, Lisa read and discussed with poise and a sophisticated flair "Go Ask Alice "- a far cry from my "Harriet the Spy". Her report clearly showcased a 'naughty' book that fascinated me, so I requested that my mom find, check-out and bring me a copy of it from the high school library, since any efforts to locate it in my lower school library were futile.

My mom, to whom English is a second language, dutifully sought out the book and upon check-out was questioned by her counterpart librarian as to who was going to read the book. Needless to say, I never got my pudgy, fourth-grader paws on it. It didnt' stop there.

You MAY NOT be friends with Lisa Druck - even in a heavy Spanish-laden accent, the message was crystal clear.

Can a nine year old develop a personal brand or did circumstances create it for her? Did Lisa turn Rielle just continue to show up in the way that aligned with how she was perceived?

Everyone has a brand; in some cases and I bet it happens more often than not - that brand isn't strategically constructed and managed. The problem is that brands are enduring; even the bad ones. Take Microsoft for instance; they're well known for being stodgy and not innovative. I doubt they like that. I know they try hard to get us to believe something else. Is that possible? Can you re-invent a brand?

With enough money, talent and perseverance you can. Look at Target's rise from K-Mart-type discount store status in the late 90's and Chrysler's recent logo re-fresh and My Name is Ram campaign to re-introduce the brand to truck lovers. But, it takes money and diligence.

And, while for some name changes - either company or personal are attempted often in the hopes of brand resurrection, all bets are off if you don't strategically develop and consistently maintain it.


Jack is a business owner, martial artist, mother of a rock star son and an intensity junkie. Jack's company, Summit Strategy Partners aligns marketing strategies to meet coroporate objectives. While this may not sound sexy - it is. What's sexier than success?

more about jack perez


sandra thompson
1.23.10 @ 5:45p

The happiest summer of my life was spent at Pine Crest when I was ten, taking French, typing, swimming, tennis classes, and voice and piano lessons. It's a wonderful school.

Too bad someone with that kind of beginning will forever be remembered for her affair with John Edwards.

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